Thyroid Awareness

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What is Thyroid Disease?

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland inside the neck that produces two hormones that travel throughout the body. According to the Hormone Health Network, the thyroid regulates the body’s metabolism and can influence any organ in the body. A thyroid that is overactive (producing too much thyroid hormone) results in a disorder called hyperthyroidism. Likewise, a thyroid that is underactive (producing too little thyroid hormone) results in a disorder called hypothyroidism. Read on for more about the symptoms of hyper- and hypothyroid disease.

Tiredness and Hyperactivity

While hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are both thyroid disorders, their symptoms can be polar opposites. Patients with hyperthyroidism may experience hyperactivity, nervousness, anxiety and irritability. On the other hand, patients with hypothyroidism may experience tiredness, sleepiness and listlessness.

Weight Gain and Weight Loss

While hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are both thyroid disorders, their symptoms can be polar opposites. Patients with hyperthyroidism may experience hyperactivity, nervousness, anxiety and irritability. On the other hand, patients with hypothyroidism may experience tiredness, sleepiness and listlessness.

Hot and Cold

Everyone can feel too hot or too cold from time to time but, for patients with thyroid issues, temperature changes are no joke. Patients with hyperthyroidism can experience heat intolerance, excessive sweating and tremors. On the other hand, patients with hypothyroidism can experience an increased sensitivity to the cold.

Constipation and Diarrhea

According to the American Thyroid Association, as the thyroid slows down so do the bowels. Because of this, constipation is a common symptom of hypothyroidism. For patients with hyperthyroidism, however, the opposite may also be true — these patients may experience diarrhea and an increase in bowel movements.

Infertility and Premature Birth

Thyroid disease can have a huge impact on pregnant women. According to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, uncontrolled hyperthyroidism can raise the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery and preeclampsia (a dangerously high rise in blood pressure late in the pregnancy). Hypothyroidism can also cause miscarriage, preterm delivery and preeclampsia in pregnant women. However, hypothyroidism can affect fertility as well.

Heavy and Light Periods

Thyroid disorder can affect a woman's cycle, just as much as can affect a woman's pregnancy. According to AllThyroid.org, hypothyroidism can cause heavy or prolonged menstruation while hyperthyroidism can cause lighter periods or no period at all.

Decreased and Increased Heart Rate

Patients with hypothyroidism may have a slowed heart rate, compared to patients without thyroid issues. On the other hand, patients with hyperthyroidism may have an increased heart-rate, irregular heart rhythms and an erratic pulse.

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